Hiring a photographer usually boils down to the four Ps: Price, Personality, Portfolio and Priorities. Price is that thing that leads all things, so I'd normally start there. But since there are sooo many factors that go into price, and they're covered in the other Ps, we're going to end with that one. For this first piece in the series, we'll start with Personality.
Personality is not the end-all be-all decision maker in who you hire to photograph your family or event - but it does go a long way in a photographer-client relationship. If you don't mesh well, how can you possibly feel and LOOK relaxed and happy in your photographs? Do you really want to spend a few hours (or if it's your wedding, ALL DAY) being followed around by someone you don't really want to be around?
You can learn a lot about your photographer in a pre-session meeting and I highly encourage it. This goes for all types of photography sessions, not just weddings. You're investing a lot of time and money into your session - make sure you and your photographer are on the same page with what you want and need. This is where you tell your photographer all the things you love about your selfies and which part of your appearance makes you feel self conscious. If your photographer is
as awesome as me really cool, he or she will buy your favorite Frappuccino, muffin or martini while you chat about how your favorite vacation with your family was when you all sat together into the wee hours of the morning playing Monopoly, or how adorable it is when your fiancé makes sure he's on the outside when you walk on the sidewalk together. By the way, if a photographer is unwilling to meet you beforehand to discuss the contract, the details of your session, or any other questions you might have - then I would run...and run fast. Imagine what it will be like when they already have your money and they are no longer fighting to earn your business?
For weddings, a pre-wedding engagement session is invaluable. Not only will that give you fabulous images to send with your announcement or decorate your reception tables, but it will break the ice of being in front of the camera. It's better to get over those jitters during your engagement shoot than on your wedding day. You'll have that precious time to get to know your photographer even better and increase that comfort level. It will also give your photographer some time to figure YOU out...and let's face it - that's one of the more important benefits so your photographer can capture your true personality on your big day. Or, if for no other reason, than to simply have fun! Like when this couple was photo-bombed at their engagement session...
The client-photographer relationship goes both ways. If, after meeting at the initial consult, it becomes clear to me that we are not a strong match, I'll be honest with you. Your time and money are valuable and I don't advocate spending it somewhere that isn't an ideal fit for you. If I feel that I'm unable to meet your needs, I have a small list of fantastic photographers who I highly recommend, and I will share them with you.
All in all, your entire decision won't likely be based on "will this photographer be my next bestie?" But there's great power in "Do I really want this person following me around all day?"
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